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rhumbaflappy

FSUIPC Saga... A Possible Solution...

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After I posted my response in another thread, I got to thinking about the FSUIPC situation...I can conclude everyone agrees that FSUIPC is an excellent and very necessary product and is considered a core component of the FSxx environment. So...I think we are looking at this issue bass-ackwards.. Instead of a third party payware add-on, I feel we need to start a campaign to Microsoft to OEM it, pay Pete a one time royalty, which would include him supporting it for a year or until the next version of FS is released.This would make everybody happy. But now the question, how do we make Microsoft address this issue?They may reply:"FSUIPC will not be required for FS9. The FS9 SDK will be adequate for third party add-on development. See now it gets down to definition."The Microsoft FS Development Team may have not ever used FSUIPC, or any third party add-ons. Therefore they have no idea what dependency the Flight Sim community has on it.So maybe we need to approach AVSIM and Flightsim.com with a Pole request with the question:Do you think Microsoft should obtain the rights or OEM FSUIPC from Pete Dowson and make it part of the FS9 / FS 2004 release?If everyone who owns FS 2002 and are planning on purchasing FS 2004 / FS 9 votes yes, Microsoft must consider it.Again, if there is overwelming evidence that FSUIPC will not be required for FS 2004 / FS9 then it is a mute issue. But we still need to let Microsoft know where we stand!Please reply to this thread if you think it is a good idea. Please keep the comments to Yes or No, If No, please supply a "BRIEF" reason why.Thanks!Barry

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No. FSUIPC is freeware and always has been. Do we want to do this for every freeware product that's useful? Why just FSUIPC? Until someone starts charging for FSUIPC I will not pay for it. Simple.Regards,

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That thinking is "bass-akwards" as well, in my opinion.MS shouldn't be relying on (or buying) a third party to provide essential internal state information to external addon developers. That this situation still exists in this day and age where every serious game developer provides comprehensive tools, documentation and support out the yin-yang to foster end-user addons post release is simply bewildering. I'm not joking here either: if you are only into flight sims you have no idea the steps taken today by deveopers to help end-user addon developers post release: its a wonderful world out there in game community. Whats happened here?With all respect to Pete and his work, we're not talking brain surgery with FSUIPC either. For an FS developer at Microsoft Game Studios to whip up the same functionality that FSUIPC provides would days to a week at most (they have the code to work from right at their fingertips... of course).That something like flight simulator doesn't provide state information out-of-box (arguably its most important addon developer feature) is like Doom III or Unreal Tournament (or insert any popular game from almost any genre released in the past few years HERE) not shipping with an editor. There'd be a riot in their respective communities.But not here. Its simply bewildering.If MS wanted to fast track it by buying Pete's work, fine with me. But shipping FS9 without a way to get at state information out of box *should* be unforgivable to the entire community.Take care,ElrondPS: So as not to confuse my message: Pete's WideFS and other utilities don't fall into the "absolutely required" category like FSUIPC does.---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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I think you missed the point...Instead of FSUIPC being Payware, I propose Microsoft OEM or buy the rights from Pete Dowson and MS can distribute it as part of FS 2004 / FS 9 (installed in Modules folder automatically). My purpose for this post / thread is to get feedback on whether this is a good idea.I think it would solve a lot of the issues, unless FSUIPC is not needed in FS 2004 / FS9. Which hasn't be determined.Barry

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No!If MS had the rights, you would see one version for the life of a flight simulator. Think of the number of iterations of FSUIPC that Peter has provided since September 2001. They have solved internal and external problems with the interface. They have added many new features to enhance the user's peripherals with the flightsim.Peter has dedicated his life for MS flightsim in the several years I have been involved with them. It is taking a toll on his personal life from what I read on his forum.I agree that I would like FSUIPC to remain freeware but am willing to pay for it if it becomes necessary. I can't fly without its control loader interfaces for joysticks, yokes, and rudder pedals.

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I can conclude that this is a vote "Yes" then...Barry

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Microsoft did not and would not in its SDKs allow for third party communication with processes in FS2K2 limiting functionality to perhaps future MS products. In their typical market dominence philosophy this restricted what enhancements could occur outside the MS campus. MS in its programming package app licenses _supposedly_ now restricts what external code source libraries can be included in a developers product according to a posting in a programmer's forum. FSUIPC provided a wealth of useful interfacing. If MS bought the rights to it, it could mean it and its functionality might disappear reducing the quality of the FS environment and capabilities of third part development.This is said to have happened in other areas of the MS world and is not a practise exclusive to MS marketing.I would rather third party developers pay Mr. Dowson an SDK fee on a one time or royalty basis and include the amount dispersed over the selling of the their product to users. This would be similar to the way developers pay for programming applications which require licensing for the released run-time libraries. I certainly as an alternative would not mind paying a realistic amount for FSUIPC as a utility just like any other multiple application utility.I sent a contribution to help support Mr. Dowson until his running expenses get figured out.

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Microsoft would buy the rights to the FSUIPC and distribute it as part of FS 9 / 2004. Pete would continue to support it. The benefit would be that everyone would have FSUIPC when they purchased FS 9 / FS 2004. Then everyone will have free upgrades, until the next version of Flight Simulator is released.This is a Win-Win situation for everyone. Microsoft, Pete Dowson, and the Flight Sim community.Now if FSUIPC is not needed, then the issue is mute. But this has not been determined. The main purpose of this thread is to get enough feedback to have AVSIM / Flightsim.com do a pole, and see what the level of importance FSUIPC is to the Flight Sim community. Then if concluded overwelmingly that Microsoft consider this proposal, the statistics will support it.Thanks for the feedback!Barry

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A qualified "yes". A much better solution would be for MS to write and provide their own, home grown (and probably much more complete) state interface mechanism written from scratch. Pete would continue to develop FSUIPC as he desired, but it would be tasked to the excellent non-state provider abilities it already has, such as what W. stated below. Free preferably, for profit if need be.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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"Microsoft did not and would not in its SDKs allow for third party communication with processes in FS2K2"Then that absolutely should be the hot topic of discussion. If Microsoft doesn't provide what the vast number of customers want most (great addons that *must* use state information to work correctly), *THAT* should be the contentious issue in this community... Not Pete's charging for his work."Would not", "Will not". Humbug I say. We pay their bills. We're the consumers of their product. If a missing feature is important enough to the community, it'll be a required feature for sales to remain anywhere where they want them. If the addons that rely upon FSUIPC *really* are that great or important, this should be a widely debated topic equating it something like FS9 shipping without ground scenery. Would you buy it if it didn't?Don't discount the "word of mouth" power this and similar communities control. While the actual numbers of hyper-involved consumers in these communities are smallish indeed, the influence in word of mouth contained within these forums control a large number of pocket books. If its important enough to the community, anything is within reach.So, thats what needs to be discussed here: Microsoft's "supposed" hostility towards the addons people dearly love. I'd make a large bet any "actual" hostility wouldn't last long and state information would be provided out-of-box. Like it should be.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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Hi Elrond.Actually, MS has given us the info to obtain state data with the Netpipes SDK.I'm such a miserable programmer, that I have a lot of difficulty fathoming how it's done.Apparently it uses the FS flight recorder function. An app would set up a "pipe" ( shared memory ) and then turn on the FS flight recorder to save to the pipe, rather than a filename. It then grabs a 4096(?) byte chunk of data, then turn off the recorder.The pipe can then be read by the app. A timer loop could grab this chunk at regular intervals, so the app's data could be updated.If data needs to be placed into the sim by an app, the pipe can write the data to the recorder as a "play" function, and thereby alter the sim.If someone could create a freeware set of subroutines for VB, Delphi and C++, application programmers would no longer be dependant on FSUIPC for interprocess communication with flight simulator. This is what Microsoft was telling us with the Netpipes SDK... they have a preferred method of IPC they want us to use... and it's not FSUIPC. In MS's characteristic way, they have told us nearly everything we need to know, but provide almost nothing as far as a real working example. :(This method would work with all versions of FS back to FS98 ( I think ), and would not need any "updates", as long as the flight recorder is used as it is now.Then Peter Dowson could charge all he wants for his program without affecting other application developers. The "IPC" part of his DLL is just a tiny fraction of what his program actually does. And that part is flawed in that it needs to adapt to each version of FS... unlike what Netpipes indicates via the flight recorder. This flaw of FSUIPC is exactly why Peter is looking at a significant time effort to update FSUIPC for FS2004, and still maintain backward compatibility. Dick

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If NETPIPES for the average 3rd party programmer is that difficult to use, then a sharp guy like Peter probably could have his utility sit between this and the 3rd party app. Perhaps he is aware of this but sees limitations.Maybe someone could ask on his forum. He should be back after 4/18.

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Hi Dick,"I'm such a miserable programmer..."It'll be a cold day in hell before I fall for that one my friend. :-)I'm so out of the loop on FS internals the past year that I fully wasn't aware of what you describe (by choice, I stress, the reasons are a whole different topic). Netpipes indeed sounds like exactly what is required. So, all thats really needed then is an example of its use or two and a complete mapping of its interface - multiple language, custom access derivatives would be a cakewalk in that case.What it comes down to yet again is: lack of documentation in FS. What a surprise. While the fault lies in MS's hands for this continued needless impasse, maybe some fault lies in our hands as well. Meaning: maybe the dev community hasn't been proactive enough in this area. Since MS policy forbids direct developer communication (insane in todays world, but there you go), maybe the dev community should change tactics and start some sort of custom voting "dev site" targeted directly at the FS developers. It would highlight the most important information required from MS in their SDK documentations, with a fully democratic method. If we can't change Microsoft Ways (think the Moonies here :-lol), maybe its time we started talking to them directly - in the only indirect fashion they allow. Oxymoron, I know, but alas.Thanks for the heads up as usual,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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I think we should force MS to buy the right of all the cool freeware planes, sceneries and applications. Did I make you laugh? Then think about how funny to say MS should buy the rights or hire Peter :)Seriously; if Peter wants some money for his work he`s free to do, the market will decide if is this app. really needed ( I think it is so I wish him a bunch of fat checks), but please stop making this collective whine. He`s a grown up, he can make his deccision. I don`t need to hear the reason behind it. If he needs the money let`s make FSUIPC payware. Set the price and if it`s priced good he`ll see money flowing.Please don`t think I don`t have respect toward him, it`s just funny to read you guys trying to change his mind and trying to tell what MS and Peter should do. I don`t think either of them really cares. They are making deccisions based on their existing professional experience.

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